Thursday, 02 March 2023 12:26

A Conversation with Avram Finkelstein (2017)

A Conversation with Avram Finkelstein (2017) HIDVL
Marlène Ramírez-Cancio, Associate Director at NYU's Hemispheric Institute, talks with Avram Finkelstein (Hemi Artist in Residence 2016) about art, activism, flash collectives, ACT UP, interrogating dominant AIDS narratives, and the role of artists in cultural and political change. His activist work raises the questions: Does storytelling within institutional settings reify existing power structures, or can it contribute to their dismantling? Finkelstein discusses his role in the Silence=Death Project and various other collectives and analyzes the dominant narratives surrounding AIDS during the Reagan era. Finkelstein also talks through the embattled legacy of activist movements from the 1980's and 90's in a New York where gentrification and displacement that has erased earlier bohemian communities, ultimately changing the way social movements and performance art interact with each other. Finkelstein argues that, in the face of these cultural shifts, forms of political engagement must adapt to the times.


Avram Finkelstein is an artist and writer living in Brooklyn. He is a founding member of the Silence=Death collective and the art collective Gran Fury, with which he collaborated on public art projects for The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Venice Biennale, ArtForum, MOCA LA, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, Creative Time, and The Public Art Fund. Gran Fury had its first retrospective at 80WSE in 2012, and has work in the permanent collections of The Whitney, MoMA, MOCA LA and The New Museum. His solo work has shown at various institutions, and is in the permanent collections of MoMA, The Whitney, The Metropolitan Museum, The New Museum, The Smithsonian, The Brooklyn Museum, and The Victoria and Albert Museum.

His recent workshops and lectures focus on the "Flash Collective," a new paradigm for rethinking the public sphere—an experiment in political art-making centered on the creation of a one day collective to produce a single art intervention in a public space--has been conducted fifteen times at various institutions across the country.


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Additional Info

  • TItle: A Conversation with Avram Finkelstein
  • Date: March 6, 2017
  • Location: (Hemi Office) New York, New York
  • Interviewee: Avram Finkelstein
  • Interviewer: Marlène Ramírez-Cancio
  • Duration: 1:26:41
  • Language: English